I’ll never forget the Christmas I unwrapped a training bra in front of all of my relatives, and with all the teen angst and melodrama I could muster, threw the package — ribbons flying — at my mother. Pre-puberty, there was something profane about mixing anything even remotely sexual into the holidays.
In adulthood, I’ve found the opposite to be true. Why does no one tell you in some sort of advanced 18-and-over sex ed class, “The secret to handling your mother and the I-didn’t-bake-at-all-this-year-again guilt, and the dress that won’t zip, and the thing you accidentally said to your coworker at the holiday party is to have a lot of sex?
I know what you’re thinking: Between juggling holiday joy with the commercial skepticism that makes you a Luna Luna gal, pleasing (or just appeasing) your relatives, and spreading cheer without blowing your budget — sex is the last thing on your mind this time of year. But I am here to tell you that it’s okay if all you want to do is get it on. In the interest of sharing this unspoken coping mechanism with the other stressed people of the world, here it is: my guide to holiday sex. I promise there are no dignity-withering references to bad Santas or naughty elves — just a few tips on how to keep your libido (and thus your spirits) up in the days ahead.
10. Sneaking around is still sexy. One of my best times was on the cold bathroom tile in a boyfriend’s mother’s house with Christmas music blasting in the background. As we were unmarried, his family didn’t find it appropriate for us to share a bedroom, so we had to sneak around like we were teenagers all over again — except this time we knew what we were doing! The thrill of breaking the rules never gets old.
9. Have sex like you’re on vacation. Even if you’re not traveling for the holidays and instead running around like a madwoman, you probably have deviated from your normal daily routine. Use the disruption in your schedule to stir things up in your sex life by doing something sexually you wouldn’t normally do. In other words, go into vacation sex mode. According to research conducted by the Kinsey Institute, couples report having more enjoyable sex while they are on vacation because they are temporarily released from the monotony of everyday life.
8. Be a giver. Generosity is contagious this time of year, and there’s no reason not to bring it into the bedroom. Rather than focusing on your big finish, try concentrating on your partner’s pleasure. Don’t let him or her put on hand (or any other part) on you; this is all about him or her. Ask what your partner wants and if you’re doing it juuust right. At the end, if there’s an attempt to reciprocate, refuse. It can be your turn another time. Moments of selflessness are good for the soul.
7. Nostalgia can be an aphrodisiac. If you return for the holidays to the town where you grew up, you’re likely to run into one or two old love interests. If you’ve always wondered what might have been, there’s no harm in flirting with a person who intrigued you way back when and seeing where it leads. Not only are you older, wiser, and sexier, but your worldliness gives you new perspective on that one who got away. It might be a welcome holiday distraction, or as treacly as it seems, something more (cue holiday rom-com movie music now).
6. Be wise about holiday hook-ups. Hook-ups may seem like a good way to avoid a silent night — but they can be dangerous territory. Indulge with caution. With all the sentimental hoopla surrounding this time of year, you may be tempted to hook-up so you’re not alone. While comfort sex has its benefits, don’t give into the idea that you can’t enjoy what the season has to offer all by yourself. In fact, being alone can help you appreciate memories of Yuletides past, take stock in your year’s accomplishments, set goals for the year ahead, and binge watch Home Alone.
5. Don’t invite just anyone over for holiday dinner. If you’re on the fence about someone, casually dating, or just starting something, I warn against bringing that someone over for a bite of holiday goose. Your relatives (whether you love ’em or love to hate ’em) are sacred and sharing your family with someone you’re not serious with can end up being an awkward mess. In a world so eager to couple up, you might feel the pressure to bring a “plus-one” to your holiday celebrations, but chances are you’ll end up enjoying yourself less by being preoccupied wondering what your date is thinking about your family and vice-versa.
4. Ask and you shall receive. This is the one time of year when it’s acceptable for adults to ask for what they want. Why limit this mentality to material gifts? Women’s mags tell us that men are more receptive to positive reinforcement: “I really like it when you …” but I find it’s much more effective — and makes me feel much more confident — to just ask my partner for exactly what I want. We all harbor secret fantasies; here’s your chance to be vocal.
3. Let’s not talk about sex, okay? Your sex life is your business. Despite the prying of relatives or women you didn’t like in high school, bear in mind that you don’t have to discuss your sex life (or lack thereof … hey, everyone can have dry spells) with anyone. Remember that on the outside, everyone’s life looks more glamorous than it really is. Resist the temptation to defend your lifestyle, play the self-deprecating card, or offer insincere compliments. It’s better for all involved to nod politely and keep your mind on the last great orgasm you had (and if it was with yourself, that counts too, baby).
2. Speaking of self pleasure … Whether you’re single or not, sometimes what you want after another round of dysfunctional family antics — or just when you find yourself suddenly in the mood — is a little time alone with the person who knows your body best: you. If it feels weird to pleasure yourself at your parents’ house (or your significant other’s parents’ home), remind yourself that you’re an adult, and chances are other people have done the exact same thing in this house many, many times before. Then enjoy.
1. Count your body blessings. Whether it’s the photoshopped model in the department store perfume ad or the uber toned actors in a holiday flick’s sex scene, we’re inundated with unrealistic images of the beauty and sex appeal of others — so much so that sometimes I think we’ve forgotten how to be grateful for what we have.
So take a look at your naked body in the mirror, and for a few minutes refuse to participate in the body shaming various influences have planted in all of us. Instead, give yourself compliments. Pick your favorite body parts and think about them at the party later if you feel yourself comparing your body to others’.
A huge part of sex is feeling proud of your own body and what it can do. That’s the sexiest way I know to go into the New Year.